Term of Award

Winter 1999

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

School of Nursing

Committee Chair

June Alberto

Committee Member 1

Elaine Hapshe

Committee Member 2

Brenda Talley

Abstract

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of early defibrillation in patients suffering a cardiac arrest. The increased awareness of the importance of early defibrillation and the growing availability of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) has prompted the American Heart Association (AHA) to recommend that AED training be incorporated into Basic Life Support (BLS) programs for all hospital personnel expected to respond to a patient in cardiac arrest.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the retention of knowledge and skills of hospital-employed nurses in their use of an AED after a training program. A secondary goal was to determine if the training should be repeated in six months. This study reflects research designed to identify the time interval when AED refresher training should be implemented to keep skills high and effective.

A convenience sample of 35 nurses employed at a rural hospital in southeast GA comprised the population. Outcome evaluation using a descriptive repeated measures design was conducted to determine if the level of knowledge and skills necessary to safely use an AED significantly declines after initial training. The 2-hour AED program was incorporated into the nurse's annual Basic Life Support refresher course. Cognitive skills were assessed by administration of a written test prior to training, immediately following training, and six months post-training. Skill performance was tested at the end of the initial training program and six months later. Satisfactory completion of the skill evaluation was defined as the ability to deliver a shock within 90 seconds of placing an AED on a manikin with simulated ventricular fibrillation. The data were summarized using descriptive and inferential statistics. A significance level of p < .05 was set for all statistical tests.

A total of 35 nurses participated in the training. All 35 participants (100 %) demonstrated satisfactory skill performance. After initial training and at six months the mean percentage correct on the follow up written exam was 96.29 % as compared with 97.00 % on the test given on completion of the course, and 88.00 % on the exam given as a pre-test prior to any formal training. A minimum score of 85.00 % on the written test administered at six months implied retention of cognitive knowledge. Further research needs to focus on the evaluation of cognitive knowledge and AED performance skills in an effort to identify when knowledge and skills significantly diminish.

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